© Michael Kuchinke Hofer


1. What is special about DB mindbox and what distinguishes it from other startup programs? keyboard_arrow_down
  • DB mindbox matches startups directly with business units of Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest rail infrastructure and mobility provider. This way you get to develop a prototype, do a PoC, or test your product directly with a potential customer.
  • You’ll get access to real data, work on real problems and collaborate with real users within a DB department.
  • You’ll receive top management level support from DB and work closely with technical experts at DB.
  • DB mindbox will assign a dedicated startup manager to your project who will guide you, advise you and open doors for you.
2. What is the DB mindbox 100 day signature program about? keyboard_arrow_down
  • The main goal of our 100 day program is to evaluate whether your solution will work at Deutsche Bahn. Depending on the use case, this can be determined using a proof-of-concept of a new product or service, an adaptation of an existing product or service for the rail environment, or a pilot project to test an established product or service inside a large corporation.
  • During our 100 day program, you will be part of a batch (e.g. a discipline such as HR, maintenance or construction) consisting of several startups that are working on individual use cases over the same period of time.
  • You can apply for individual use cases described in the call by the deadline indicated for each batch.
  • Your application will be evaluated, and selected startups will be invited to pitch in front of an expert jury.
  • Startups that win over the expert jury will get a spot in the batch and take part in the 100 day program.
  • You’ll receive EUR 25,000 with zero equity taken when participating in the 100 day program and you will get 24/7 access to our DB mindbox coworking space along the Spree river (unless a global pandemic makes this impossible).
  • During the 100 days you’ll work closely with a DB department and will receive expert coaching and mentoring.
3. What should be included in the pitch deck? keyboard_arrow_down
The pitch deck should provide a comprehensive impression of your team and solution. Here are some tips to effectively guide the creation of your pitch deck:   Introduce your startup 
  • Brief overview of your company, its mission & vision 
  • Background information on the founding team 
  • A short summary of your financial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), investments, funding, etc. 
  Your product & USP 
  • Provide an overview of your product or service 
  • Clearly articulate how your product addresses the identified problem of Deutsche Bahn 
  • Highlight the unique innovations that set your product apart from existing solutions, including evidence 
  • Showcase any successful implementations or tests with other companies, along with references 
  Our collaboration – 100 days PoC
  • Clearly outline the objectives you aim to achieve during the 100-day Proof of Concept (PoC) 
  • Break down the 100 days into milestones, showcasing what steps you will take and when 
4. Do you have any recommendations for our application? keyboard_arrow_down
  • Make sure to hand in a pitch deck that addresses the use case (not a general investment or sales pitch deck).
  • Submit a video or photos of your solution to support your application.
  • Include references of prior projects.
  • Highlight your team members’ achievements and backgrounds.
  • Be concise and present only relevant information in a clear way.
  • If you feel that your innovative product or service will add value to DB but does not fit one of the use cases or challenges listed, you can send us a general application.
5. Is there any additional financial support for teams that have high travel or accommodation costs (e.g. teams living abroad)? keyboard_arrow_down
  • No, you are expected to cover your travel and accommodation costs with the money awarded to you.
  • We cannot provide free train tickets.
  • The amount of money you‘ll receive for participating is indicated in each call – it is EUR 25,000 for our 100 day signature program. The amount may differ for other calls, i.e. specific challenges, and will be clearly stated on the call page.
6. What are the requirements for participating in the 100 day signature program? What stage is required of a startup and its solution? keyboard_arrow_down
  • Past experiences have shown that you should at least have an MVP or first prototype of your product or service ready so that you can achieve results that we can assess after 100 days.
  • Your team must have at least two people in order to participate.
  • Your startup must be a registered company in order to be eligible to receive the EUR 25,000.
7. Is the team required to move to Berlin and be present at the DB mindbox offices at all times? keyboard_arrow_down
  • No, you do not need to move to Berlin and be present at the DB mindbox offices at all times. However, direct and close collaboration between a startup, DB mindbox and the DB business units increases the likelihood that your project will succeed. Close physical proximity can help and support direct and close collaboration (we would of course find ways to work together remotely in the event of a global pandemic, for example).
  • While you are not required to be in Berlin at all times, depending on the business unit you are collaborating with, it might be necessary to be on site at the business unit’s office or depot for product tests.
  • We also expect you to be on site for live events like the pitch day, midterm presentation, final presentation and portfolio day (which will usually take place in a major  German city like Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, etc.).
8. What are the next steps once I submit my application? How does the startup selection process work? keyboard_arrow_down
  • Once you submit your application, your documents will be reviewed by the DB mindbox team. You may be asked to provide additional documents.
  • DB mindbox and the DB business units will then coordinate and select the most suitable startups based on the specific program or challenge requirements and will invite these startups to a pitch event.
  • Teams that are not selected can choose to be added to our database and may be contacted again for possible future programs or challenges.
  • Startups and their solutions will be evaluated by a jury of experts at the pitch event.
  • Startups that can win over the jury will then sign a contract for the program or challenge. You will then receive the award money and access to everything DB mindbox has to offer.
9. What happens after the 100 day program or challenge? keyboard_arrow_down
  • Your project will end with a final presentation of the results that you have achieved.
  • All stakeholders will evaluate the results of the program or challenge and will decide whether to continue the collaboration between the startup and DB.
  • The type of collaboration between the startup and DB depends on the product or service offered by the startup. It is very unlikely that there will be an immediate DB-wide rollout of your solution. In most cases permits and regulations need to be addressed first and you will start a longer-term pilot project or something similar.
10. What are challenges about? keyboard_arrow_down
  • Our challenges are based on specific problems or questions that business units of Deutsche Bahn face.
  • DB mindbox and the DB business units pre-select startups to invite to participate in a challenge.
  • During the challenge you’ll compete with other startups (usually three to five) working on a solution to the problem together with the DB business unit.
  • Each challenge has a different setup and timeline depending on the specific problem to solve. Funding for participation and/or for the challenge winner also varies from challenge to challenge.
  • All of the details about a specific challenge can be found on the challenge call website.